Intelligence Analysis

IA student receives SMART Scholarship

Lisa Colelli

By: Brett Seekford

Lisa Colelli, a rising junior majoring in Intelligence Analysis (IA), may have two years left until she earns her degree, but she already has a job once she graduates.

After completing an arduous application process, Colelli recently found out that she is a recipient of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship. With this award comes both funding for the remainder of Colelli’s education and various internships where Colelli will put her developing skills as an intelligence analyst to use for the government. The scholarship also stipulates that recipients will have a two-year position at the Department of Defense upon graduating.

Colelli found out about this opportunity back in October 2016 through the ISAT Department, which houses the IA program. She applied on a whim, not expecting to advance past the first stage. After compiling a portfolio that included a personal statement, letters of recommendation and a résumé, she waited until February to learn that her application moved to the next level of consideration, which included interviews with representatives from federal sponsoring facilities.

In May, she received the positive news. Reflecting on her reaction, Colelli said, “My parents probably should have been the first people I told, but I instead forwarded the e-mail to Dr. Kathleen Moore, who has been instrumental in helping me with this accomplishment. She has been a wonderful mentor.”

Moore is proud of Colelli’s success and sees her scholarship as indicative of the opportunities inherent to an education in Intelligence Analysis at JMU.

“Lisa’s award of this scholarship highlights the benefit of an interdisciplinary education students experience in ISAT,” Moore said. “Typically, IA majors have a singular focus on national security or business, but experiences such as SMART introduce students to the world of research that is performed throughout the Department of Defense.”

Colelli will soon fly out to White Sands, New Mexico, for a visit to the sponsoring facilities where she will learn more about this partnership. Assuming all goes as planned, she will spend the following summer in a training course to complete intelligence projects before formally working in an intern position for the facility. As an intern, her responsibilities will include employing mathematical and scientific analysis when assessing critical real-world problems. After graduating, she will be working with the Analysis Center, likely as an Operations Research Analyst.

Published: Thursday, July 20, 2017

Last Updated: Monday, January 29, 2018

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